“Senior Leadership Teams” by Ruth Wageman, et al

Do we need another book on teams? This one is just enough different from the rest to make a significant contribution to your leadership team.

The focus of this book is senior executives as a team. These highly skilled individuals have the dual responsibilities of managing their departments and the enterprise as a whole. The management function of senior leadership teams often feel like a distraction from their “real work”. Yet, senior leadership teams provide a key function that every organization desperately needs – leadership.

Senior-level leadership is needed for high level strategy, cross-functional initiatives, building organizational capacity, capital acquisition, and enabling mission-critical performance.

The four authors (two consultants and two academics) studied 120 senior executive teams to find out what made the difference between great senior teams and poor senior teams. They discovered six things.

Three are essentials, no surprises here, concerning the design of the team:

  1. They are real teams;
  2. They have a compelling purpose; and
  3. The right people are on the the team.

The chapters on each essential are insightful for the specific context – senior teams. Executives will find the examples and specific recommendations helpful because of they are not generalized for all teams, but only senior leadership teams.

Senior leaders, the authors found, often do not have the necessary skills and experience in establishing the working conditions of an effective team. Teams will not automatically be high performing because of the individual abilities of the team members. Three enablers are:

  1. Team structure;
  2. a support context; and
  3. Team coaching.

The key is developing how the team works together. Teams require different processes, skills, and growth in their abilities to collaborate together effectively.

With practical help and its specific context, Senior Leadership Teams, is well worth the read for both executives and coaches.

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    Keith is President of Creative Results Management. He helps busy leaders multiply their impact. Keith is the author of several books including The COACH Model for Christian Leaders.

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